A career as a radiology technologist can be rewarding on many levels. This in-demand field offers the financial stability of a career in the healthcare industry without committing too many years to education.
Additionally, it fulfills the desire to help people and puts those who enter the field at the center of innovation and technology.
Duties of a Radiology Technologist
Radiology technologists use equipment, such as x-ray, MRI and CT machines, to produce diagnostic images of a patient’s bones, organs, and tissue to aid in the detection of injuries or diseases.
Doctors use the images to identify and treat diseases and injuries. Those who enjoy learning about and using new technology and like the idea of working closely with patients and medical professionals will thrive. As if these were not enough, these are the five top reasons to enter the field:
1. Radiology Technologists Help Provide Innovative, Better Healthcare
A radiology technologist is a vital part of any medical team, providing non-invasive imaging work that helps medical professionals diagnose diseases and injuries. More importantly, the person in this role also helps evaluate the images, discusses them with physicians and educates patients on the imaging process while putting them at ease. Finally, since imaging technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, radiology technologists are the focal points of change.
New procedures and methods, such as hyperspectral imaging1, which provide nearly real-time, color-enhanced images of biomarkers in tissue, that can help doctors better distinguish between malignant and benign tumors, make good radiology technologists major role players in providing the best quality patient care.
They also get to be part of major innovations, including Polarized Nuclear Imaging2 (PNI). PNI combines magnetic resonance imaging and gamma-ray imaging and has the potential to provide very detailed MRI scans, as well as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning, which uses a computer and special camera to view a person’s organ and tissues functions, may detect early onset of diseases, such as dementia and cancer, that other imaging may not detect.
2. It’s an In-Demand Career Expected to Grow
U.S. Department of Labor3 shows that the radiology technologist employment pool will grow 13% by 2026. In 2016, there were 241,700 jobs. The number is expected to grow to 272,000 by 2026. In addition, as the U.S.’s aging population continues to grow, the demand for more diagnostic imaging professionals will increase.
3. Make Healthy Wages Without Advanced Degrees
Most careers in the healthcare industry require at least a four-year degree. However, for radiology technologists, this is not necessarily true. Radiology technologists typically need an associate’s or two-year degree with most states requiring a license or certification. Radiology technologists can commit too much less education and can still bring home an attractive salary. As of May 2017, the median annual wage for this position was $58,440.4 Salaries vary based on employer, years of experience, and additional training and certifications.
4. It’s a Position That Offers Choice of Work Settings
More than half of the country’s radiology technologists work in hospitals, while other work at other healthcare facilities, including physicians’ offices, labs, outpatient centers, and any other facility that needs diagnostic imaging. Those who thrive working in a busy work environment, where speed and quick thinking are necessary, work in emergency rooms or trauma centers.
5. There Are Many Opportunities to Specialize
No two days are the same when working as a radiology technologist. They work with many types of medical imaging equipment to capture images that help doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. Becoming a radiology technologist offers the opportunity to specialize in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography), mammography, nuclear medicine, and radiation therapy scanning techniques.
A Career as a Radiology Technologist Is Gratifying
Becoming a radiology technologist is a profession that gives individuals opportunities to work with cutting-edge technology, to help patients, and contribute to improving the healthcare landscape while making a sustainable income with the chance to grow. Whether specializing in mammography, CT scanning, or another type of imaging, radiology technologists can expect a long, healthy, rewarding career.
- Science Direct. “Hyperspectral Imaging.” Web. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/hyperspectral-imaging. 25 February 2019.
- UVAToday. University of Virginia. “UVA Scientists Create Novel Imaging Technique with Potential for Medical Diagnostics.” Web. September 28, 2016. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=pet
- Bureau of Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Radiologic and MRI Technologists. Web. 25 February 2019. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
- Bureau of Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 29-2034 Radiologic Technologists. Web. 2. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292034.htm. February 25, 2019.